We support HB1314 and SB2620 because these bills would bring Mississippi law in line with constitutional requirements concerning the right to pre-jailing ability-to-pay hearings and to counsel prior to the imprisonment of people for nonpayment of fines. This legislation (1) makes clear that judges are not required to jail people for failure to pay fines and that judges have the discretion to modify payments when appropriate, (2) clarifies that people have the right to an attorney before they are imprisoned for failure to pay a fine, and (3) lays out the process by which people can be imprisoned for failure to pay fines (for example, if they have the money to pay but willfully refuse to pay fines).


Died in Committee